Good nutrition is one of the pillars of good health. This week we start a 6 week series of simple, straightforward posts on different components of nutrition to help seniors, adults with disabilities, and caregivers make informed food decisions. As a bonus, each week we will include a recipe based on the topic. Week one: Protein Recommendations. Remember to consult your doctor before you make major changes to your diet especially if you are on medications and/or have a medical condition.
1. Mix it up. Most reasonable diets provide enough protein for healthy people. Eating a variety of foods will ensure that you get all of the amino acids you need.
2. Go low on saturated fat. Beans, fish and poultry provide plenty of protein, without much saturated fat. Steer clear of fatty meats and use whole-milk dairy products sparingly.
3. Limit red meat—and avoid processed meat. Research suggests that people who eat even modest amounts of red meat have a higher risk of developing colon cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, and a higher risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, or any cause. There’s also substantial evidence that replacing red meat with fish, poultry, beans, or nuts, could help prevent heart disease
and diabetes—and could lower the risk of early death. So make red meat (beef, pork, lamb) only an occasional part of your diet—no more than two 3-ounce servings a week—if you eat it at all. And skip the processed stuff—bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats—since that’s linked even more strongly to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes risk.
4. Eat soy in moderation. Tofu and other soy foods are an excellent red meat alternative. In some cultures, tofu and soy foods are a protein staple, and we don’t suggest any change. But if you haven’t grown up eating lots of soy, there’s no reason to go overboard: Two to four servings a week is a good target.
5. Balance carbs and protein. Cutting back on highly processed carbohydrates and increasing protein improves levels of blood triglycerides and HDL, and so may reduce your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other form of cardiovascular disease. It may also make you feel full longer, and stave off hunger pangs.
Protein Packed Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls Recipe
- 1 cup of low-fat peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup of Instant protein shake mix (found in the health section of your grocery store). Recommended brands: Aria Protein Shake Mix 50% whey/50% soy chocolate flavored; Gensoy Soy Protein Shake chocolate flavored.)
In a microwave safe bowl, heat peanut butter and honey for about 30 seconds to soften. Stir together and gradually add the protein. Mix well. Form into balls and place on wax paper. Cool and refrigerate. Variation: roll balls in chocolate chips, coconut, granola.